Of Māori (mother) and Niuean (father) blood, he was raised by his grandmother and joined a Western Springs College school band in 1988, The Low Down Dirty Blues Band, who, in the early 1990s changed their name to Supergroove and went on to sell huge quantities of their debut album Traction in 1994 and 1995, both in New Zealand and across Asia.
Che was originally a guitarist in the band but by the time they came to record he’d moved to vocals.
The inevitable creative differences in a successful band led to Che being evicted from Supergroove in 1996.
DJ DLT had invited Che to contribute to a track destined for DLT’s solo album and the result was the mega-hit ‘Chains’, released in July 1996, just a fortnight after Che and Supergroove had parted ways, and No.1 for some five weeks.
Che thought he was being asked merely to provide harmony vocals, but when told it was a full vocal and co-write, he had to rush into the studio's bathroom where he quickly penned the now classic chorus.
At the 1997 New Zealand Music Awards ‘Chains’ was named single of the year, and Che Fu was songwriter of the year and male vocalist of the year.
At the 1997 New Zealand Music Awards ‘Chains’ was named single of the year, and Che Fu was co-songwriter of the year and male vocalist of the year.
The success of the single led to BMG signing the still only 22 year old musician to a solo contract, sending him to New York for three months to find a producer, which was fruitless, and BMG refused to fund the recordings, finding the artist's direction too “radical”.
Eventually, with a Creative New Zealand grant, Che entered the studio, first with DLT again, then John Chong-Nee and finally with Andy Morton, who produced the bulk of the recordings. The result was the still ground-breaking debut album 2b S.Pacific, released in October 1998.
The album fused Pacifika with reggae, soul and hip-hop in a unique blend that would influence a generation of young New Zealand artists.
The first single from 2b S.Pacific was the Chong-Nee produced ‘Scene III’, issued in June. It peaked at No.4, but its sequel, the Morton co-produced double A-side ‘Without A Doubt’/‘Machine Talk’ went all the way to the top in September.
For both live and studio work Che then formed a band, The Krates (also known as The Kratez), with a fluid line-up that continues to the present.
His BMG deal having expired, for his next album Che moved to Sony Music. 2001’s Navigator was largely self-produced although P-Money, then a member of The Krates, contributed to four tracks.
Other members of The Krates included Chip Matthews, Godfrey De Grut and Supergroove drummer Paul Russell.
Navigator was recorded in Che’s own home studio (with overdubs at Revolver Studios). It entered the New Zealand Album Chart at No.1 in September, preceded by the No.2 single ‘Fade Away...’ in August. The latter had killer remixes from P-Money and Soane to round out a solid package which was everywhere in late 2001.
A third album, Beneath The Radar, was released in 2005, followed by a career retrospective, Hi-Score – The Best Of Che Fu, in 2006.
Che Fu is currently a member of Hed-Lok, with King Kapisi.
In May 2013, as part of New Zealand Music Month, Che Fu performed the whole of the 2b S.Pacific album live at Auckland's Tyler Street Garage.
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